The main reason I started this blog was to talk about anxiety. I also hoped to share useful, and tangible, tips on how to deal with it.
Over the past eight months that I’ve been blogging, I’ve also learned a TON from other bloggers and people on the internet from sharing their own experiences. One thing I picked up from several other bloggers writing about mental health is a “mental health kit.” This really struck me. What could be more tangible than putting together a bag of real, tangible things that actually help your mental health (or in my case, anxiety)?
I’m not talking about a “toolkit” that’s stored in your brain in the abstract sense, like with breathing exercises and mantras.
I’m talking about a toolkit of STUFF that you can dig into when the anxiety hits.
Needless to say, this inspired to create one of my own.
I use a small coin purse-sized bag that’s stuffed full of things that make me feel better. These “things” will, of course, to be different for everyone, but here’s what’s in my anxiety toolkit!
What’s in My Anxiety Toolkit
- Medication. This one is obvious. While I strongly believe anxiety can be reduced significantly by all of the natural and holistic things like yoga, meditation, essential oils, and supplements – medication is #1. Of course, what works for each individual is different from our brain chemistry and bodies are different. My point here is to say: take your anxiety medication with you wherever you go and you’ll find relief just knowing it’s there. If you’re going to an event (like a concert or football game) where you can’t take a purse with you, put a few pills in a small plastic bag and put them in your pocket. I have a tiny coin purse (that normally goes inside my larger anxiety kit in my purse), that I can easily transfer anywhere.
- Supplements. I keep the full bottles at home, but always stash some in my anxiety kit. This includes GABA, L-theanine, magnesium and a packet of matcha. Other supplements that have evidence behind them include: Ashwagandha, lemon balm, and 5-HTP. Quick matcha plug: In case you live in a cave and missed the trendy matcha photos that are all over everyone and their mom’s Instagram feed, matcha is IN! It’s not new at all, but it’s had a huge boost in popularity recently. Matcha is high in L-theanine (from the concentrated green tea leaves), so starting your day with one is a great way to prevent anxiety!
- Essential Oils. I always keep a mini-bottle of lavender oil and peppermint oil in my bag. I use the lavender oil to dab on my wrists/neck for a calming aroma when anxiety is setting in. I use the peppermint oil primarily for headaches, but also find that sometimes when my anxiety is worse, it’s powerful aroma is a welcome distraction from what’s going on internally.
- Water. This may sound obvious, as dehydration isn’t good for anyone. However, if you’re prone to anxiety, it’s a good idea to carry a water bottle with you. I find this important especially when traveling or adventuring out for the day, when I’m not always sure when I’ll have a chance to stop for water. I always bring an empty reusable water bottle with me when I fly, and fill it up inside the airport after going through security – environmentally friendly and preventive.
- High-Protein, Low-Sugar Snacks. I always carry a snack with me because I tend to be sensitive to low blood sugar. If my blood sugar drops, it can sometimes trigger anxiety. Fortunately, this can be prevented by carrying snacks. Preferably snacks high in protein, without added sugar to keep me energized for a longer period until I have my next meal. I also have a mini bottle of glucose supplements just incase!
- Phone (to download stuff). Create an anxiety playlist and download it on your phone. Download a meditation app and save a handful of meditations that work well for calming you down. When I travel on long plane or train rides, I also like to download a few episodes of a TV show or movie that I know will distract me and preferably, make me laugh too. 🙂 So, needless to say, comedies are usually what I choose.